From Major General Stirling
July 2d 1778 at Guests [Brunswick, N.J.]1
The enclosed I recived yesterday evening and took the liberty of opening them least they might require some immediate arrangement.2 the Rear of the Army is up, in much better order than I could have expected. I am this moment going to the Court Martial after a little retardment as your Excellency will see by the enclosed Note & Answer.3 I have sent Col: Bur to Elizabeth Town to make some enquiries.4 I am your Excellency’s Most Obt Humble Servt
1. Stirling may have been staying at the house of New Brunswick tanner Henry Guest (c.1727–1815), then at the corner of Livingston Avenue and New Street.
2. These enclosures have not been identified.
3. Stirling enclosed a letter of this date from Maj. Gen. Charles Lee and his reply (both DLC:GW). Lee expressed “confidence” in Stirling’s “integrity and honour” but added: “as I have been told that You had the imprudence (for if it is a fact, certainly was an imprudence) already to give an opinion—I think it more eligible for many reasons that Monsr de Calb shoud be President instead of yourself.” Stirling replied: “It Certainly is not a fact, that I have Given an Opinion on any thing that you stand Charged with; It was Indeed impossible I should; for to this moment I know not the Charge upon which you are to be tryed. After this declaration if you have any Objection, I willingly shall decline an Office the most disagreable I could in the Course of my duty have met with.”
4. On 4 July, Stirling received a report from Lt. Col. Aaron Burr and acknowledged it in the following words: “On showing it to General Washington, he approves of the progress of your inquiries, and desires they may be continued. But he particularly desires me to send off this express to you, to request that you will endeavour to get all the intelligence you possibly can from the city of New-York: What are the preparations of shipping for embarcation of foot or horse?—what expeditions on hand?—whether up the North river, Connecticut, or West Indies? For this purpose you may send one, two, or three trusty persons over to the city, to get the reports, the newspapers, and the truth, if they can” (Davis, Memoirs of Aaron Burr description begins Matthew L. Davis. Memoirs of Aaron Burr. With Miscellaneous Selections from His Correspondence. 2 vols. 1836–37. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 1:129). On 6 July, Stirling wrote Burr again, acknowledging another report and requesting that Burr “direct your letters with such intelligence as you may procure, to his Excellency General Washington who will be on the line of march with the Army.” In a postscript, he continued: “Genl Washington desires me to Add that he wishes you would employ three four or more persons to go to Bergen heights Weeahacks, Hosbouck or any of the heights there about Convenient to observe the motions of the Enemy’s Shipping and to give him the Earliest intelligence thereof; wether up the River particularly; in short every thing possible that Can be Obtained” (MWA: Burr Papers). Burr continued on this assignment until at least 8 July, when GW’s aide-de-camp Tench Tilghman wrote to him: “His excellency desires me to inquire whether you have received any information of the enemy’s movements, situation, or design? He will leave this place about 4 o’clock this afternoon, before which he will expect to hear from you” (Davis, Memoirs of Aaron Burr description begins Matthew L. Davis. Memoirs of Aaron Burr. With Miscellaneous Selections from His Correspondence. 2 vols. 1836–37. Reprint. New York, 1971. description ends , 1:130).